For most people, February is all about love, cartoon hearts and Valentine’s Day. For others, including countless hospital teams and organ donors, this month focuses on a different kind of heart, as people recognize American Heart Month and National Organ Donor Day (Feb.14). This celebrates the many doctors, patients, and donors that keep our hearts strong. For Air Unlimited, we like to do our part by offering organ transportation flights throughout the year, and today, we’d like to share how you can get involved too.
You may not realize it, but you can make a difference for the thousands of people waiting for lifesaving transplants. About 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, but only 54 percent are actually signed up as donors. This is a disappointing gap when you take into account that one donor can contribute eight lifesaving organs, and there are nearly 120,000 people waiting for organ transplants.
So, what can you do? One simple step is to become an organ donor, which can easily be done online through your DMV. You can also volunteer with donation and transplant organizations, such as Donate Life America, and help organizations with social media advocacy and fundraising.
Something that many people forget is that organ donation isn’t just for the deceased. There are a few organs you can donate while you are alive that can make a huge difference, such as kidneys and parts of the liver, lungs, and pancreas. You can find information on the living donor process here. Even something as simple as donating blood or plasma can be a huge help too.
It may be American Heart Month, but Air Unlimited is honored to be part of the organ donation process throughout the year. Many of our pilots are ready to volunteer in transporting organs, welcoming the doctors along for the ride, no matter what hour of the day it is. We all can play a part in saving someone’s life, and that’s something to be proud of.
You’re more than likely familiar with Air Unlimited’s famed flights to the Abacos and custom charter services, but did you know Air Unlimited also does organ transportation flights. These trips save lives by rapidly getting doctors and organs where they need to go. In fact, our pilots have quickly and carefully completed countless life-saving missions, often alongside the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute.
When an organ transportation flight is requested, our team immediately begins making arrangements to find a crew that can fly the organ and medical team between hospitals. This can happen at any moment, so many of our pilots are ready to volunteer at the oddest hours of day or night. The crew also understands that every transportation flight is different than the next. Sometimes, our team transports the organ itself packed in a cooler with ice. Other times, we’re flying a team of doctors to harvest an organ at another hospital and bringing it back home for transplant.
Although this is very different than our typical flight to the Bahamas, it’s a rewarding experience to offer such an important and unique service.
In fact, nearly 120,000 people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and more than 5,000 of them are located right in our backyard, here in Florida. Unfortunately, every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list, and 21 people die every day while waiting for their turn. So, when a match is made, we know that every second counts.
Even though we’ll never meet these patients, we feel honored to help them through our organ transportation flights. If you’d like to make a difference too, we invite you to consider becoming an organ donor. Only 54 percent of Americans are organ donors, yet one donor can single-handedly save and heal more than 75 lives! To learn more about the process or to sign up to be a donor, visit https://www.organdonor.gov/register.html.